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Master of Education in Special Education

** we are not currently accepting new applications for this program.**

The Graduate Studies Program in Special Education consists of two pathways, one for certified general educators seeking RI certification as a special educator, and one for certified special educators seeking to advance their expertise in the field. The latter track does not lead to additional state certification.

Both pathways provide teachers with the necessary academic background to meet the educational, emotional, and social goals of the child/adolescent with special needs. Candidates take courses in the areas of assessment, curriculum, and behavior strategies.

General educators who complete the special education certification pathway in this program will satisfy the requirements for either elementary (grades 1-6) or secondary (grades 7-12) certification for children/adolescents with mild and moderate disabilities. Please note that in Rhode Island a candidate for a special education certificate must hold a general education certificate at the same grade level for which they seek special ed certification.

The certification pathway of this program provides a one year option that focuses on training candidates to succeed in diverse, inclusive classrooms-guiding those students who are most in need. Candidates begin their studies in May and conclude the following May. Candidates may also choose to move slowly through the program. The typical candidate completes the program in 2-3 years.

Admission Requirements

A 2.75 undergraduate gpa is required for conditional admission to the program.  A 3.0 or higher undergraduate gpa is required for full admission.  A conditional admission indicates that the student will be required to meet additional academic criteria during their initial coursework to gain full admission.

Please download this .pdf for additional admission information.
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Program Requirements

The certification pathway contains particular admissions requirements, including a minimum 3.0 undergraduate gpa. Please contact the Program Director for additional information about these admissions requirements.

All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within a period of five calendar years from the time of admission.  To receive the degree, a student is required to:

  • Maintain a “B” average (3.0 gpa in all coursework)
  • Complete a portfolio demonstrating proficiency in the CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) standards
  • Pass the Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications assessment prior to student teaching. Click here for more information regarding the Praxis assessment requirement.

For detailed information regarding the program and its requirements please click on the following links:

The Sequence

Certification Pathway (33 credits)

The courses required in the master’s program in special education leading to initial certification are listed below. Since the program has been designed to follow a developmental sequence, all courses in strand 1 must be completed prior to strand 2. Similarly, all coursework in strands 1 and 2 must be completed prior to enrolling in internship.

Strand 1 

EDU 571         Communication Disorders with Special Needs

EDU 608         Assessment of Individual Differences

EDU 649         Collaboration: Home/School/Community

EDU 823         Introduction & Characteristics of Students with Special Needs

Strand 2

EDU 599         Teaching Students with Autism (Elementary certification only)

EDU 606        Teaching Reading to Students with Special Needs

EDU 613         Vocational Programming (Secondary certification only)

EDU 617         Behavior Strategies

EDU 636        Assessment/Curriculum for the Student with Mild/Moderate Disabilities in K-12 settings

EDU 811         Special Education for Children from Diverse Backgrounds


EDU 630        Elementary Student Teaching Internship (6 credits), or

EDU 631         Secondary Student Teaching Internship (6 credits)

Non-Certification Pathway (36 credits)

Students who have completed a certification program in special education will follow this sequence of courses:

EDU 599         Teaching Students with Autism

EDU 606         Teaching Reading to Students with Special Needs

EDU 610         Applying Research to the Teaching of Mathematics

EDU 613         Vocational Programming

EDU 615         Medical Aspects of Children with Disabilities

EDU 616         Advanced Assessment

EDU 617         Behavior Strategies

EDU 811         Special Education for Children from Diverse Backgrounds

EDU Elective  Literacy Course

EDU Electives (9 credit hours)